By Hope Cross
HAMILTON – A Brooksville man died Thursday morning after an accident at Tronox.
George Rice, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene by Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley.
The accident occurred about 6:40 a.m. and Rice’s body was recovered about 9 a.m. The body was later transported to the state medical examiner’s office in Jackson for an autopsy, Gurley said. The incident remains under investigation.
According to a release issued earlier in the day from Bud Grebey, vice president of communications at Tronox, a contractor was missing after an accident. Emergency response teams from Lowndes and Monroe counties and the company were called to the site.
“The missing worker was operating a dredge at one of the company’s ponds containing nonhazardous solids, a byproduct in the production of titanium dioxide at Tronox,” the release said. Precautionary measures were put in place to secure the area and to ensure the safety of Tronox employees.
According to Monroe County Emergency Management Agency Director Bunky Goza, who responded to the accident, there is no public danger and there was no hazardous release.
Rice was an employee of JIMCO Group, which has been working at the Tronox site for several years to recover nonhazardous solids from ponds that store byproducts from the production of titanium dioxide, a nontoxic pigment used in paint, plastics and other common products.
Rice was on board a tethered 18-foot pontoon dredge that is believed to have listed and capsized. He was wearing a floatation vest when the accident occurred.